This sight is often terrifying to see in the rearview mirror.


This one can be terrifying to see on the HeroClix map.


“What?” someone’s asking. “In a game that has the nigh-indestructible Bug (Batman V007) in it, you list the COP CAR as number one?”

Yeah, I do.

First, it’s got all the ridiculous advantages that all the new Vehicles do: auto-breakaway, taxi ability, range attacks out of adjacency and long, long dials full of long power runs at a heavy discount.

It’s also a great support piece, with Enhancement and Perplex for adjacent allies (who it’s likely taxiing anyway).

But it’s the Pilot Abilities that make the GCPD Cruiser (V004) leap to the top.

Cuffed To The Bumper, activated by any “GCPD” or “Gordon” piece, gives the car Plasticity coupled with a complete nerfing of the automatic breakaway abilities that usually render Plasticity useless. More than that: those characters can’t fly, giant-step or even TELEPORT past it! With a 2×4 base, this ability gives the Cruiser an unprecedented degree of board control!

Clear The Streets is even worse: by simply moving through an opponent’s square, the Cop Car can deal 1 penetrating damage (WHAT Impervious roll? Hello, Mystics?) and completely reposition it 3 squares away.

Just by MOVING. No attack roll needed. And with Willpower, do it twice.

The GCPD Cruiser is a silver bullet to so many tactics in HeroClix.

  • Stealth. Knock Batman in the open.
  • Mystics. “Clear The Streets” isn’t an attack.
  • Charge/multibase/Great Size’s ability to ignore knockback. “CTS” doesn’t care.
  • JSA/BatEnemy/Syndicate/Defenders chains. Busted.
  • Hypersonic/LeapClimb. Cuffed by bonds made of Kryptonite-irradiated adamantium alloy with multi-phase dampeners and mystical wards on ’em, apparently.
  • Damage reducers.
  • Attack avoiders (Shape Change, Super Senses, Combat Reflexes).

And probably more I forgot to name. There are some crazier combos out there, but none are encapsulated in one piece like this, and the Cop Car probably goes a ways toward shutting many of those combos down anyway.

At just under 100 points to activate all this, the GCPD Cruiser is the most torrid tactic of 2012.


OK, that end this “Top Ten” that replaced the usual “best of” list. But while this one showed the worst stuff players had to face, it in no way represents the actual worst pieces of 2012. That’s coming next week, as the retrospective continues! Stay tuned.

Down to the #2 most torrid things in 2012 HeroClix: Ziran the Tester and Thanos Issue #1

I griped about Ziran back in October. Quoting (with some hindsighted copyediting):

“There are a lot of characters and game elements that can punish opponents with by using solid power combos, huge damage numbers, ease of attacking and staunch defenses. There aren’t many that punish opponents equally for building such into their team or largely leaving same OFF.”

The colossal’s stupid Testing trait harshly punishes any team built to effectively fight Ziran and any team that passes the test can’t effectively fight Ziran. As if fighting colossals weren’t hard enough already.

Thanos (Infinity Gauntlet 008, Issue #1) doesn’t even need a test. Just pick half the enemy force and click ’em like they’re taking Mystics.

Before the fight even starts.

Torrid. And yet not the most torrid tactic of 2012. That’s next time. Brace yourselves!


Based on the classic 1991 miniseries.

There was a lot of bellyaching about Nightcrawler (Web of Spider-Man) and his ability to kidnap a target to a prearranged killbox far away from its backup. That misbegotten mechanic suddenly made soft, immobile characters and tactics like Metron and the Shield Disruptor top-level stuff. But there were ways to slow the elf down: super turtling in the start zone or rushdown so the killbox can get overwhelmed immediately after its done its worst to Nighty’s victim.

That #$%#$ don’t work when the kidnap tactic works from the STARTING ZONES. On TURN TWO.

Thanos (Galactic Guardians 049) can do just that, isolating your top two figures some 20 squares away from anyone friendly, giving his killbox IN THE STARTING AREA (no need to actually, y’know, position) easy free shots on them.

And lest you think “Well, he just made it easy to counterattack him,” he can swap your guy’s usually high Attack Value with the usually lower Speed Value.

Meanwhile, the rest of your team is likely at LEAST two rounds from being able to effectively help out.

At least that’s a chase piece, and thus not all over the place. Unfortunately, the regular Super Rare Thanos (Galactic Guardians 046) is as torrid in his own way, thanks to this trait:

“AVATAR OF DEATH: Other characters can’t be healed.”

Steal Energy, X-Men/Titans TA, Regeneration, Support…all useless until he’s gone. And with his sky-high stats, self-healing and powers, that’s a tall order for a lot of teams.

Neither of these match up to Thanos the Colossal (Infinity Gauntlet 008), regardless of which “Issue” you’re “reading”:

  1. Multi-Attack and a choice from  THREE 150-point figs to add to your force AFTER seeing what the other side’s packing AND deal half the team free damage;
  2. Double-Incap a foe and dump ‘im in their start zone;
  3. Kill the other team’s keywords and, if in base, team abilities…and oh yeah, a free 100-point brick/Perplexer in Terraxia;
  4. Nerf a successful attacker’s stats -1;
  5. Penetrating damage is just regular damage.

I mean, sheesh. How torrid can you get?

As it turns out, even more so. Stay tuned.

The countdown continues.


Resources were a new mechanic for 2012. Neither quite a feat, nor quite a special object, the Infinity Gauntlet combined the randomness of relics with the steady boost provided by the best feats.

Trouble was, it was better than ANY feat or relic — so much so that it became pointless to try winning a top-level tournament without paying the 40 points for the fully loaded version.

Here’s why:

  • Anti-Outwit. Who needs Fortitude? Ignore the black damage power.
  • Willpower. Any character that was hobbled by the fact that it couldn’t afford to push…well, it wasn’t hobbled anymore. Or balanced.
  • Random extra powers. With a full complement of Infinity Gems, a Gauntlet wearer could sport a short ton of powers (Steal Energy, TK, Mind Control, PC, Super Senses, Phasing, Carry, Incap, etc.). Not something to count on, but certainly not chopped liver.
  • Special Powers 1, 2 and 3. Within just a few rounds, suddenly that fig that you already had difficulty dealing with because your Outwit was useless and it kept acting 2 of 3 turns…well it just got more difficult to deal with. With SP #1, that random extra Gem power need not be so random anymore. Then SP #2 not only adds +1 to all stats — ALL! — but it also allows the player to pick any one power from the PAC.
  • Worse still, Both SPs do not require the dial to turn like the rest of the Gauntlet does, allowing the wearer to just. Sit. There!
  • Worst of all? SP #3 ups the ante to +2 to all combat values on top of the pick-a-power ability, and the wearer can use ANY of the attached Gems.
  • For the rest of the game.

A more balanced — and comic accurate — approach to these Special Powers would be for them to require the Gauntlet dial to turn with every action. Why? Because no one EVER holds the Gauntlet long. The less-than-cosmic can’t handle the power (see Nebula) and the powerful are either too wise to do so (Adam Warlock) or bore quickly of omnipotence (Thanos).


Barely any better is the Utility Belt. Much more random than the Gauntlet, it would seem to be a much more balanced piece.

It’s not.

It grants massive stat boosts about every other roll. Its attachable items grant some neat abilities for absolutely minimal cost (1 point).

And with just three of them, HEY! You get Willpower…for just 11 points.

Not done. You can get reloads of items, or take a double action to switch to your favorite click on the Belt (like the one with +2 stats and OUTWIT, maybe?) or add brand-NEW items, get free uses of existing ones or even drop one to make it a Relic.

One more thing: You can add a costume granting some MORE powers essentially for free (so far, we’ve got the Suit of Sorrows, which gives Super Strength and Battle Fury).

All this for a dirt-stinkin’-cheap 14 points, max. Its capabilities aren’t even fully known yet and it’s already warping the game.

Resources are torrid. But you need ’em if you’re going to face the top 3, coming next week.

One thing you always used to be sure of: If you saw a themed team of a certain type, you knew the other player was likely just a little more limited in what she could bring to the table than if she’d built a truly maxed-out team.

Used to.

But in 2012, even that was no longer any guarantee, thanks to the #5 most torrid thing in HeroClix this past year:

Keyword “wild cards”

It started with Morgan Le Fay (Chaos War 049) and her trait that allowed her to team up with Avengers — already one the most-populated and potent of the named keywords — and add her considerable talents without breaking the theme. This unprecented bending of the theme rules was mitigated by the fact that she didn’t actually add to the themed team bonuses; she can’t add to the map roll or use the theme Probability Control. But her being a Mystic and bringing her own PC made up for that little balancing act.

Then came Nightwing (DC 10th Anniversary 007), who not only doesn’t break theme teams, but actually gains the needed keyword in addition. So if you need a keyword to activate an effect, just make sure to assign it to the former boy wonder and let fly with the game abuse.

WizKids really should have at least, in the interest of character accuracy, limited the effect to DC keywords only. It’s like they learned nothing from the original Thunderbolts feat.

They still weren’t done. Gandalf (The Hobbit 002) also has the same trait. While the trait makes a bit more sense on him (after all, a wizard comes and goes precisely when he means to!) it should have been limited to generic keywords. Gandalf brings more general utility to teams than Nightwing thanks to first-click TK and Perplex. Thankfully, he’s not Modern Age-legal.

The three chase Skrulls represented a last bit of keyword “wild card” action. While they neither get nor grant keywords, they instead grant team abilities to all their fellows with the Skrulls keyword in addition to their inborn Skrulls TA. To that end, chase Spider-Man (Marvel 10th Anniversary 024) is the last link of the wild card keywords. Joined by the two previous pieces, he can turn fellow Skrulls into actual wild cards so they can copy Batman and Mystic TAs.

Torrid. Just torrid.

Some were trends, as seen in #10. Some were specific characters, like the last few.

#7 is both.

Gordon & Gordon’s Moving Service


It started with Lt. Gordon (The Dark Knight Rises 021). Here’s what I wrote back in July:

“His stats and standard powers are modest; his SP is game-warping, giving multiple keywords a lot of extra movement for the cost of his single power action. To be both character-accurate and game-balanced, it should’ve been limited to less-expensive Police-keyworded characters.”

Of course, I was reacting to this SP:

“Give Lt. Gordon a power action; you can immediately give him and up to two adjacent friendly characters who possess a team ability or keyword possessed by Lt. Gordon a move action as a free action, replacing all characters’ speed values with Lt. Gordon’s unmodified speed value.”

The Gotham City keyword is too deep to be giving its characters free movement like this. Worse, even the balancing suggestion I had back then is obsolete in light of figures that have come out since.

As bad as Lt. Jim is, his daughter Barbara, as Oracle (Streets of Gotham Fast Forces 001), takes it even further: She can give a cleared pal sharing her Birds of Prey or Justice League keywords a totally free move for half their speed. And unlike her pa, they don’t need to need to be adjacent or even VISIBLE.

At least she’s a Unique, unlike her pa, which keeps the Torrid potential of Ms. Gordon at bay. She also lacks the Gotham keyword(s), which prevent her from teaming with Papa for really awful combinations. But still.

Last year, Aragorn of the Lord of the Rings set seemed nearly broken. Now he almost seems tame.

Speaking of free mobility:


#6 Improved Movement

So on the one hand, something like Improved Movement is well overdue for HeroClix. It’s long been a bit of a crime that The Flash couldn’t run over water in ‘Clix the way he so often does in comics.

On the other hand, it’s given us torrid figures who just can’t be tied down or hindered by hardly ANYTHING anymore. The only upside is that Improved Movement is an ability that can be countered — YAY OUTWIT!! — so it’s not so bad as most of them aren’t Batman Allies or Stealthers.


Number of characters with Improved Movement: 25

Number of those with Stealth or Batman Ally team ability: 15 (60%)




Sentry & Void (Chaos War 057), the prize chase of the set, was one of the first pieces that unaided, on round 2 from his own starting area, could threaten the opponent still sitting in their starting area. Here’s how:

He has 11 range, 10 Hypersonic Speed and Multi-Attack, enabling him to move 20 squares and shoot with an effective 6 range. Or, thanks to Penetrating/Psychic Blast, he can move 10 with one action then sit and fire for 5 clicks on the second. And with Power Cosmic, he can do even worse damage the very next turn.

This isn’t even taking into account his ability swap out into either Void (Chaos War 045) or Sentry (Chaos War 035) who, when KO’d, instead come back as Sentry and Void (Chaos War 057) on his Regen click anyway. From there he can use Multi-Attack to try Regen twice and it all starts over again.

None of those are the truly torrid thing about Sentroid, though.

It’s his Avengers keyword.

They’re Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. That last being the operative word: HEROES. But when Sentry and the Void merged, in the comics? He was such a complete villain that none less than LOKI had to fight on the side of the Avengers to stop him from destroying the world.

“Avengers” is the LAST keyword Sentroid deserves, and yet he has it. What the hell?

Enchantress (Justice League 016) presents a similar problem. Her 250-point dial has a heaping pile of keywords: Suicide Squad, Justice League, Shadowpact. But the character that dial represents isn’t a member of any of those teams. Indeed, as her trait indicates, she’s actively an enemy of the Justice League in particular.

With extra-range and guaranteed damage on both Quake and Poison, this witch is a terror on the field to anyone she can reach. Her only weakness is an inability to safely push and being a groundpounder for the cost. Hitting her doesn’t help; she’s an Impervious Mystic and solid damage just lands her on Hypersonic Speed with Invuln. and Willpower — so much for that no-pushing weakness — and a long run of Probability Control.

Again. Justice League keyword. WHY?

Inexplicably getting the highly versatile keywords of their chief enemies kicks both these villainous beasticks from being ultra-strong to Torrid.


Next time: Another pair who are a pain.


torrid def

#10 “Pick a power” pieces

One of HeroClix’s slogans used to be “It’s all on the dial.” That hasn’t really been true since the introduction of feats back in 2005 and especially with Special Powers’ debut in ’07, But in this year of power leap, we got some characters that aren’t even constrained by what actually does appears on their respective dials!

  • Stranger (Galactic Guardians 043): This big fella not only can grow from normal to giant to colossal size each turn, but for much of his dial he gains a SP granting him use of any one power on the PAC. Wanna Outwit that SP? Hope you built in one of the very few tactics that can do it regardless of the Power Cosmic TA.
  • Xavin (Galactic Guardians 022): goes a little further in that he isn’t even constrained by the click he’s on if he’s on either his first or last click: you can literally turn the dial to any click you want. It’s not quite any power, but with his rainbow dial he basically has access to 14 different powers when on clicks #1 and #6.
  • At year’s end, Vixen (Streets of Gotham 028) got the ability to gain access to every standard-colored power showing on every Animal keyworded character on the battlefield, friend or foe, for the low price of a 1-in-6 chance of self-damage. On the right team or against the right opposition, she can potentially “have” every single power on the PAC — except Smoke Cloud — on one click.

As torrid as these characters and the power leap in design they represent seem to be, they really aren’t that bad by themselves. Stranger’s stats are pretty modest for his 213 price and he’s got to push to get to that crazy power. Vixen has to be built around to compensate for her average numbers and inborn abilities. And Xavin is most frequently used as pure support. But there’s another figure which does that better…


Scarlet Witch (Chaos War Fast Forces 006)

The most expensive non-blind pull, nonexclusive HeroClix figure of all time is this one, one of Heroclixin’s most wanted remakes. She certainly raised the ante on design for both the character and her sheer utility as the ultimate support piece. Of the old TOPPS formula of team-building, she supplies three of the five in one 75-point Mystic package. At her more economical 50-point price, she also can supply a bit of offensive threat with Penetrating Psychic Blast or defense with Barrier.

She’s so good that she finds a spot on teams everywhere. People bought multiples of the Fast Forces she came in, basically threw away the other four or five pieces and held onto Scarlet Witch.

Torrid, yes. But NOTHING compared to what’s later on the list.

“Let me explain … no, it’s too much. Let me sum up.”
— Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

It’s a new year, when I usually rank the top ten most playable HeroClix of the past year.

But 2012 was a strange year for the game. With more pieces released than ever before, not only are there just TOO MANY to properly review, but the term “playable” has become something of a gross understatement.

Longtime readers may recall a little article I did back in Feb. 2012: the top game-changers of 2012, looking at a bunch of lower-profile pieces that wouldn’t be game-winners the way the Top Ten proper were, but still bent or broke the normal rules of the game.

Well, 2012 was littered with even worse rule-breakers. And this lot actually threatened to take a lot of the F.U.N. out of HeroClix.

So this year’s Top Ten is going to look at

  • how those pieces break the game a bit
  • how the designers should’ve reined them in, in Heroclixin’s opinion
  • how to deal with them if you see them on the other end of the table, and
  • how to have some F.U.N. with them anyway.

After this series, we’ll look at the 10 Worst of the year, then Heroclixin’s 10 favorites of the year. Hopefully, we’ll be done in time for a normal Top Ten list based around a power, ability, theme or team.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

Been a while, as I’ve been away on holiday. Time to continue Heroclixin’s photographic record of Super-Strong figs that can hold objects, again:


Hawk (Streets of Gotham Fast Forces 003) securely holds his token with his cape. “No hands, little brother!” The brawny Ghost of Batman (Streets of Gotham 051), also use his cape, though with far less competence. (That’s what happens when you use drugs as a crutch to get your Super Strength, kids! Batman (Streets of Gotham 013) of the invisible battlesuit granting Super Strength barely grips the token with his right forearm. The robotic WildCAT Spartan Warrior Spirit (Streets of Gotham 036) can balance the token in his arms as shown, or one can tuck it under his right armpit from the front.


Next week, Heroclixin’ begins its annual look back at the best, worst and whatever of the previous year. But with the staggering amount of HeroClix we saw in 2012, that’s gonna be a daunting task. Stick around and see what’s what.